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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Old 04-27-2017, 08:57 AM   #1
SmoothBoarBBQ
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Default Question about cooking "outdoors" and selling food

Hey All,

So I've finally got my catering business up and running with the exception of a culinary kitchen. I live in North Carolina and I had some questions about the permitting process so I stopped by the local health department (permits office) and they were giving me some strange answers. They weren't sure but were pretty insistent that if I wanted to sell my food, for catering or vending, that I wouldn't be able to cook it outdoors on a smoker. They were were pretty certain, but not sure, that I would have to cook inside a trailer or some kind of "closed in" area. Has anybody ran into something such as this?

My intention was to hire out a culinary kitchen for the prep work, but of course I'll do the cooking outdoors on my smoker. Unfortunately my town doesn't have a culinary kitchen so I'll have to make a round trip, out of county, to a kitchen about 45 miles away. They also weren't sure if it were legal for me to do this and they had no idea how to write out the permits for this.

Has anybody had similar issues or can anybody give some insight here which would help me? Quite frustrated with this... still looking into my local VFW for a kitchen but they're kind of "waffling" over it at the moment. Thanks.
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Old 04-27-2017, 09:12 AM   #2
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Refer to the section of the .2600 rules governing the sanitation of a food service facility.
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Old 04-27-2017, 10:58 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked Smoke BBQ View Post
Refer to the section of the .2600 rules governing the sanitation of a food service facility.
Appreciate it, but now I have a few follow up questions which maybe you can help me with.

Here's the food code link I found, 2600 :
http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/docs/r...06-26-2600.pdf

OK, so it looks like a smoker is considered "covered" so it shouldn't be a problem. I do have another question if you don't mind / are able to help.

My intention is to do all the prep work for the food at the commissary kitchen and put in an iced cooler. Then I'll tow my smoker trailer to the serving site and cook it there. I'm looking through these manuals and I don't think this would qualify as a "push cart" but maybe? At the cook site I'm planning on setting up tents (if no indoor area is available) and just serving out of chafing dishes.

I would say what I'm doing would be a mobile unit, but that's kind of crazy because they would require me to have pressurized hot water, sinks, bathroom access, etc.

Any idea where just basic BBQ catering / vending fits in with the permitting?
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:22 PM   #4
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I would also Love to see responses to this as I am in the same quandary up here in Mass. No wonder my CPA told me that as long as I don't want to do it as a primary business and just do it occasionally that I should just consider and list it as "A Hobby"; not a business.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:45 PM   #5
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I just found out for here in MASS (Not sure about NC) If I License as a "Personal Chef", I will be allowed to prepare 50% of food at my home and finish cooking it/catering it at the customers location. This avoids licensing a home kitchen as a caterer in my state. Would Need a Business Lic, a DBA, and a Sellers Permit. That helps you avoid Inspections and the trouble for qualifying as a catering business if you are just going to do the occasional basic BBQ. This would not apply if you want to go into a full blown/full time catering business. Highly recommend Serv Safe Food Manager Cert, if not already.

Other options are look into the requisites for a "Hobby for Business".... Just something to look into.
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Old 04-27-2017, 01:51 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamD View Post
I just found out for here in MASS (Not sure about NC) If I License as a "Personal Chef", I will be allowed to prepare 50% of food at my home and finish cooking it/catering it at the customers location. This avoids licensing a home kitchen as a caterer in my state. Would Need a Business Lic, a DBA, and a Sellers Permit.... Just something to look into.
How does this work in terms of getting inspected by health and hygiene? As much as it's a pain I think those inspections is a good "check and balance" to ensure that people aren't preparing food in an unsanitary kitchen.
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Old 04-27-2017, 02:19 PM   #7
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I totally understand your point of view...I guess it all comes down to the honesty of the individual. You can still be held liable and get sued if someone contracts a food borne illness, you would have loss of reputation and credibility etc. Also, even a full time Licensed Food restaurant that gets inspected can prepare in "unsanitary conditions". Whether they performed this by only "getting into compliance for the inspection and then went back to their unhealthy style". (Ever walk into a restaurant that you just walk right out of)? I guess my point is anyone can be unsanitary, that is why there are minimum safe standards and you are EXPECTED to comply. That is why I threw out there the "Serv Safe Food Manager" Certification. YOU would be the manager and that would be required for you. Would teach you all about the minimum standards and what is required in the aspects of food, food safety, handling, serving, cooking, holding, sanitation, etc. but whether you would choose to follow or not is up to you. (My main Point). Also recertification is every 5 years and it is Nationally recognized.
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Old 04-27-2017, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmoothBoarBBQ View Post
Appreciate it, but now I have a few follow up questions which maybe you can help me with.

Here's the food code link I found, 2600 :
http://ehs.ncpublichealth.com/docs/r...06-26-2600.pdf

OK, so it looks like a smoker is considered "covered" so it shouldn't be a problem. I do have another question if you don't mind / are able to help.

My intention is to do all the prep work for the food at the commissary kitchen and put in an iced cooler. Then I'll tow my smoker trailer to the serving site and cook it there. I'm looking through these manuals and I don't think this would qualify as a "push cart" but maybe? At the cook site I'm planning on setting up tents (if no indoor area is available) and just serving out of chafing dishes.

I would say what I'm doing would be a mobile unit, but that's kind of crazy because they would require me to have pressurized hot water, sinks, bathroom access, etc.

Any idea where just basic BBQ catering / vending fits in with the permitting?
Permitting only comes into play if you are serving to the public. If your hired to cater then permits are not needed. Based on what your talking about yes you would have to have a pressurized sink, and a refrigerator that holds a constant temperature.
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Old 04-27-2017, 06:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamD View Post
I totally understand your point of view...I guess it all comes down to the honesty of the individual. You can still be held liable and get sued if someone contracts a food borne illness, you would have loss of reputation and credibility etc. Also, even a full time Licensed Food restaurant that gets inspected can prepare in "unsanitary conditions". Whether they performed this by only "getting into compliance for the inspection and then went back to their unhealthy style". (Ever walk into a restaurant that you just walk right out of)? I guess my point is anyone can be unsanitary, that is why there are minimum safe standards and you are EXPECTED to comply. That is why I threw out there the "Serv Safe Food Manager" Certification. YOU would be the manager and that would be required for you. Would teach you all about the minimum standards and what is required in the aspects of food, food safety, handling, serving, cooking, holding, sanitation, etc. but whether you would choose to follow or not is up to you. (My main Point). Also recertification is every 5 years and it is Nationally recognized.
Yeah, did my ServSafeManager's Cert a few months ago. I'm going to look into this and see if it exists out here in Carolina. Thanks!
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Old 04-28-2017, 01:05 AM   #10
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A couple points:

1. ServSafe is a national license, but may not be recognized by every state. Some states recognize it as is, others require reciprocal recognition, and others outright do not recognize it.

2. In many states, food code is enforced on a local (usually county) level, and counties often make up ordinances that are more restrictive than state law.

3. FDA Food Code does not require a pressurized sink - your state or county may vary.

Source: I'm a certified ServSafe instructor at a college level for 11 years.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!
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Old 04-30-2017, 12:27 AM   #11
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I am in Tennessee and running into the same problems!
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